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The Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway is a North Texas treasure, connecting the communities of Mineral Wells and Weatherford just west of Fort Worth. Beginning in downtown Mineral Wells, the trail is paved for 2 miles. For its remaining 18 miles, the pathway is surfaced in finely crushed limestone suitable for hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians.
After five miles of riding from the trail’s west end, you’ll hit one of the highlights of the journey: a 500-foot bridge, adorned with 104 Lone Stars, across US Highway 180. Shortly after the bridge, travelers will have access to Lake Mineral Wells State Park, where additional trails (including equestrian paths) are available, as well as campsites, a rock-climbing area, and a lake in which to swim, boat, or fish.
As you pedal through the countryside and wind through sections of woodland, keep an out for wildlife, including turtles, cottontail rabbits, deer, foxes, coyotes, and even bobcats. You may also see horses and cows in the pastures you pass.
The rail-trail traces the corridor of the former Weatherford, Mineral Wells & Northwestern Railroad, a passenger line which was popular in the late 1890s due to the area’s mineral baths that were believed to provide healing properties. The line was later owned by the Texas & Pacific Railway Company and then the Union Pacific Railroad. The railroad provided freight service for its last few years of operation until it was no longer economically viable; the corridor opened as a trail in 1998.
Four trailheads provide amenities, including parking, drinking water, and restrooms; from west to east, they’re located in:
Self-pay stations are located at each trailhead, or fees can be paid at the Lake Mineral Wells State Park headquarters. The daily entrance fee is $7 (children 12 and younger are free), or you can purchase an annual pass for $70 that grants you access to all Texas state parks.
It was an absolutely beautiful day. Especially with the excitement of being able to explore a new trail. I've been in DFW since 1985 and had no idea this was even here. Plus, to add the "icing" to the "cake", I just bought a new gravel bike. I've been riding it along the Trinity River trail system and while that is fun, it can be dangerous as more people, their strollers, dogs, and Pokemon users (head down and NOT paying attention) are using it.
Enter MWST. This was the most fun I've had in a really long time. Having a nice new ride didn't hurt either. I was treated to 2 snakes, 1 rabbit, a bobcat, 2 farm cats, cattle, horses with people trying to control them, more butterflies than I could count and 2 very eccentric owners of a coffee shop in Mineral Wells. That being said, if you ride the entire 20 miles from Weatherford to MW, you MUST visit the You Maka Me Hot Coffee shop in downtown. It is directly next to the old Baker Hotel. You can sip a much needed coffee and chill out for a bit. This coffee shop is pretty special. They roast their own coffee there and ship it out all over the country. It is truly a small gem in the midst of an otherwise pretty depressing town.
Back to the trail. There is a section from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial into the MW trailhead that uses broken up bricks for the trail. This is a terrible section and is the only part worth avoiding. My butt wishes it had been avoided. I blazed through it and if I hadn't really wanted to visit the coffee shop, I would have turned around. I noticed that certain companies sponsor small sections of the trail. Chicken Express sponsors the section in front of their restaurant. I wondered if Acme Brick sponsored the heavily bricked section. We may never know.
The elevation is mostly flat, but keep in mind if you do the entire 40 miles, you will notice that going back seems to be more climbing. For reference, I started at Weatherford Cartwright park. I was all excited hitting 18-20MPH having a blast, until the return trip. Most avid cyclists won't have an issue. This was the farthest I'd ridden in one day, so it was quite a workout. I will definitely be riding this again. It was not very busy at all. I cannot believe with the gravel grinding crowd out there, that this place wasn't swamped with cyclists.
Thanks again and I hope this helps encourage someone to get out there and RIDE. Enjoy this country while we still can!
Rode the trail this last weekend. Part of the trail from Lake Mineral Wells State Park to Mineral Wells is closed due to flood damage. It's not well marked from the park to Mineral Wells just three orange barrels across part of the trail. No signage saying why the barrels are there. At FM1195 the gate on trail towards the park is closed and locked and it has a sign stating that this section of the trail is closed due to flood damage. Would have been nice if someone from the park when I checked in might mentioned that.
The section from 1195 to Rock Creek mine is very rocky, not the crushed limestone of the rest of the trail, but larger rocks and broken bricks making for a very bumpy ride.
We rode about 8 miles of this trail from weatherford and loved it. However be very careful several spots have washed out and trees have fallen on it. I gave it a 3 star mainly for maintenance.
Took this route mid January found it to be well presented and maintained with very good facilities at the mid way point. Will do this route again in 2016 during the summer. There are lots of parking at both ends of the trail I visited the Vietnam war veterans museum just alongside the trail about 2 miles from Mineral Well's There are a wide selection of motels at either end of the trail with the usual fast food restaurants and pharmacy as well
I've ridden this twice now in a month. Started in Weatherford and ride to the train in Mineral Wells and back (40 mile roundtrip but I would suggest it's comparable to 55 miles on road bike on highway).
There are 4 or 5 super sandy areas 10-30' long so you have to watch or you'll wreck. Very nice other than that. Nice scenery and wildlife. Take extra water as you'll need it. Garner water fountain broke as I write this. I would recommend at a minimum a hybrid or mtd. No road bikes would get far here. More downhill going towards MW and of course opposite coming back. Give it a try.
I love this trail. Sometimes start in Weatherford and travel about 3 miles and return or I start in Garner. A great way to relieve stress and get my horse some exercise.
Today I started at the Mineral Wells State Park trailhead at 9:20 AM, and rode my Aluminum hybrid to the Weatherford Trailhead then back to Mineral Wells trailhead- ending at 1:00. The temperature was 92 degrees with a light breeze or no breeze.
At first I thought this was a mountain bike only trail as the start is a winding downward (sharply) in a zigzag of loose gravel. After the short distance (about a football field) the trail leveled. Then it seemed like a very slow and gradual climb with a few level areas that lasted about fifteen miles. The terrain was as you would expect from a country trail on a former train track. There are no hills and after the fifteen miles (the highest point) the trail started a gradual downward (hardly noticeable) trend which was very welcome. The return ride was much easier as the trail was more downward (hardly noticeable). Keep in mind that this was a train track in the old days, and there are no real hills to challenge. When I arrived at the end I was unable to ride up the zigzag slope, and was forced to walk my bike up the hill.
I would recommend this trail to anyone who would like a real outdoors country challenge. The distance will wear you out if you are not used to long distance bike riding. My legs were exhausted when the ride was over.
One scene I really enjoyed was while on a level part of the trail five or more bucks (deer) with very nice racks ran along with me. They were very aware of me and eventually two cut across my path while the others remained in a parallel trot. The deer seemed to watch my every move and of course they disappeared in the blink of an eye into some woods. This little encounter gave me a much needed burst of curiosity to continue to the end of the trail in Weatherford.
There were a few people walking and a few riding. I saw about fifteen people during my entire ride. Six were on horseback, two were walking, and the rest on bikes. Given the distance if you expect to see a lot of people you can forget it (my experience). No one should try this trail without a cell phone for any emergency that might arise, and keep landmarks in mind. There are several spots that I passed that were along a road, I had cross roads, and saw houses nearby.
Overall I would give the trail a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Took trail from Weatherford and went the 6 miles and the trail was great. Wanted to go further but legs were getting tired and it was started to get windy. So turn around and return to Weatherford. Large parking lot and nice clean bathroom - us women appreciated that! Going to try and make it further next time.
I have been riding my bike on this trail for years, I would not keep comming back if I did'nt enjoy it. The only problem that I've had with the trail is there's too many horses that tear up the trail and leave their poo all over it. Most of the people that I met on this trail were very friendly exept some I met on horses. All in all I would highly recommend to all my friends.
Mineral Wells trail is a best kept secret of the area. Perfect for those that prefer quiet unspoiled terrain.
Pack a picnic and park your car at Clark Gardens (see their website). Directly across from their entrance is
a trail entrance (marked). 14 miles to Weatherford or approx 6 miles to Mineral Wells. Gradual uphill toward Weatherford but then enjoy mostly downhill returning to the Gardens when you can relax and enjoy a spectacular environment and picnic under the pavillion beside a lake. I plan to do this again with friends very soon.
I rode this trail with a friend of mine last summer. It was an adventure to say the least. Went with only one bottle of water and ran out at the 16 mile marker. We decided to turn back at that point and everything from that that point got worse. I could not find any water on the way back. I got to the point where I was looking at drinking the water from a marsh pond. But was warned not to by my frantic and worried friend. We then approached some shade of trees and I took a break. I started to fade away and black out and then came to when my friend snapped me up and kept me from drifting off. I started looking at the berries in the tree shrubs and actually attempted to eat one then quickly spit it out after it's rancid taste made my mouth even more dry. I found my emergency energy gel and ate it. It picked me up after a couple minutes and I was able to pedal back 5 more miles to the trail head where my friend had a ice chest full of drinks and refreshmants. That was the best dang drink I ever drank. The one thing I learned is to never go to any trail without plenty of water. The parks department really needs to consider putting in a water fountain at least halfway down the trail. I could have died but I cannot blame that on anyone but myself. Of course that Texas heat can also be a sunnovabiscuit during the Summer. Other than that the trail was fun.
In Lake Mineral Wells State Park, not trailway, there is a multiuse trail but it certainly isn't worth the ride. It is about 4 miles long and consists of sand, rock shelf, and grass. There were lots of horses when I was there but very few bikes. If, however you want to make a day of it you can start at the Weatherford trailhead, GPS coordinates already posted, turn at the 14 mile mark into the state park, and ride over to the multiuse trail. If you ride the multiuse then get back on the trailway to Mineral Wells and then bike back to Weatherford you will end up with a 50 mile ride.
Multiuse trail N 32 50.061' W 098 02.178
State Park Entrance N 32 48.762 W 098 02.596
Minerals Wells Trailhead N 32 48.378 W 098 06.836
Drop me a line at email@example.com if I can answer any questions.
I was on the trail yesterday and a few updates. First, there is some water available at a few of the trailheads. Garner has water for sure and that is about halfway. Second, new GPS coordinates (dismiss the coordinates in my previous post) 32 47.004 and 97 49.661. At the 14 mile mark you can go off the trail to Lake Mineral Wells. Nice little side trip. There are trails in the Mineral Wells State Park but they were closed yesterday due to all the rain we have had. Also, at the 14 mile mark there is a sign that says the trailway is closed due to water damage. That sign has been up for at least 8 months and it is a shame they haven't done anything about the water damage. No matter, just drag your bike under the barrier and continue. There is a place where you will need to walk your bike but no big deal. Finally, remember there is a day use frr of $5.00. Have fun
This is an excellent trail to bike, jog, or walk. Be careful of the Texas heat and be warned, there is no water on this trail. Here are the GPS coordinates for the Weatherford trailhead; 32.7866431 97.826964.
If anyone else has GPS coordinates for any trails please post them. Have a good one.
My husband and I have been riding this trail since it opened about 10 years ago. It is a beautiful ride and not at all level totally as someone might think of west Texas. We do have a problem with flats whenever they mow, which throws thorny materials onto the trail. I have "armadillo" tires now and haven't had flat but the last time they mowed my husband had four flats (not all in one day) before things smoothed out.
This is an annual problem but I do highly recommend riding this trail, just be sure to have some extra tubes on hand.
Be sure and watch out for the wildlife, we've seen deer, turkey, rabbbits, squirrels, armadillos, possum, coyote, foxes and one time a beaver. There are also lots of different birds and wildflowers.
I would give this trail 4 1/2 stars out of five.
This is one of the best trails I have ever been on. It is well kept, no trash, the scenery is beautiful, and it is over 20 miles long. If you are out this way give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
"A great ride on my Tri-Cruiser 7,8 & 9 Aug 06. Even in 95 degree temp."
"I peddeled this trail on Aug 7,8,&9th. in both directions.
Even in temps above 95 degrees, it was enjoyable. recommend a stop at the Garner Store and discover the Domino Game of 42 from the Store Owner."
"I've wanted to bike this trail for some time and finally did so on one of our hottest summer days (so much for timing!).
I'm posting this review for those of you that use road bikes or hybrid bikes. I biked the trail beginning from the Weatherford trailhead to the west to the east side of Mineral Wells using a Giant FCR2 hybrid bike with 700X28 Panaracer Pasela touring tires. Other than the fact that the crushed limestone trail was a little loose in a few places my bike and relatively skinny tires did OK. A suspension fork is not needed on this trail although I would have felt a little more comfortable with a 700X32 or slightly larger tire.
I did pass one lady on a road bike and she seemed to be doing OK (actually she was really cooking on one of the downhill sections), although the rest of the bikers that I passed on the trail were using Mountain Bikes with fat, knobby tires.
I did venture up the trailhead connection to the state park - this section is definitely mountain bike territory since it is relatively steep with several switchbacks and poorer trail conditions compared to the excellent condition of the the rail trail.
The state park itself is beautiful with light traffic on the roads. The roads are very hilly in the park, so be prepared to work on the uphill sections.
The rail trail is in good condition. There were a few shrinkage cracks along the trail that could be dangerous to a skinny tire bike. In addition the railbed base had worked through the crushed limestone overlay in a few spots, but my tires held up OK.
The numerous bridges over the creek crossings are typically wood deck construction and in very good condition, although there were a few interfaces between the trail and bridge deck that jolted the bike.
I passed a rider or group every mile or so in the section closest to the Weatherford trailhead. The trail was very lightly used from the state park trailhead westward.
Much of the eastern portion of the trail is at least partially shaded as the trail passes farms and rural estates, the western sections are more open and the surrounding topography somewhat rugged.
I'm not sure I'd ride this trail on a slick tire 23MM road tire. If your road bike will support a larger tire (at least 28MM with some tread), you should be OK. As indicated earlier, I would have felt a little more comfortable with at least a 32MM tire width.
I hope this review proves useful to those of you considering this trail on a road bike or hybrid bike."
"I road from Weatherford to Mineral Wells and back on a Saturday in March (2005). Left early, about daybreak. It was a little cold at first, but what a great ride. I took the advice of someone on this site and turned around in Weatherford when the trail crosses its first traffic light. Not many people on the trail at that hour; I passed one. But what delightful scenery, and a great surface. Took me a little over two and a half hours for the round trip.
BTW, I stayed at the St. Botolph Inn in Weatherford as suggested by a poster on this site. Great place, hospitable Inn Keepers, very accomodating to cyclists."
I rode the trail for the first time during Labor Day weekend and made two trips. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The trail makes a nice weekend trip and both Weatherford and the trail seem a thousand mile from Dallas-Fort Worth. The trail and facilities are well maintained and were much better than expected. I'm looking forward to next time.
"We did this trail for the first time this week, in August, and plan on returning. It's a relatively easy ride. You see some animals and flowers. And, of course, there are no cars.
I won't go all the way again to Mineral Wells however. The last mile or so is not worth it with the cars and lights. Once you hit civilzation, just turn around and visit the park or gardens. "
I love this tral and wish we had more like it closer to the Dallas/Ft Worth area. There are great views and some gentle cycling. It's was a great ride.
"My wife and I stayed in Weatherford at the St. Botolph Bed and Breakfast, a great place to stay. Not only was this a convenient location to the trail head, but the hosts were so accomodating to store our bikes in their garage.
We rode from the trail head at Weatherford to mile six on the trail. It was uphill almost the entire way, which taxed us. But the ride back was much better. There were many birds, butterflies and wildflowers that made the ride very interesting and enjoyable. We were limited by time, otherwise we would have traveled the entire distance. We plan to return to complete the entire trail.
My wife is a beginner in biking and was only discouraged a little the first 15-20 minutes, but soon hit down hill and was pleasantly surprised how the rest of the ride was achievable even to her. She is very excited to return to this trail."
Definitely check out the Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway if you're a city dweller looking for a great escape from the city.
I left about 7:30 in the morning at the Weatherford trailhead and got back around 2:00. I pedaled around in Mineral Wells for a while and had lunch at the catfish resteraunt.
The trail is smooth and it has a gentle grade downhill from Weatherford so there are several spots where you can get your speed up and coast a lot on your way to Mineral Wells. You don't have much of that on the way back but it's not bad.
I did it in the middle of July and I still had plenty of water left when I got back. I will be doing this trail again when the weather cools down a bit.
"This is a wonderful day trip away from the Dallas area. It's ranch land and very rural. If you go one way, try to stop halfway at Garner to have a delightful lunch at the cafe. If you are on a bicycle, be careful around horse riders since horses don't understand bikes. Makes 'em nervous. The trail is a wonderful piece of work. Just remember, if it's been raining, they will close the trail to prevent damaging it."
"Nice fat tire trail with gentle grades. Rest rooms exceptionally clean for a rural, public trail.
Low hanging tree limbs between Garner and Mineral Wells as well as trail erosion along the edges and bridge approaches require constant attention from the rider.
Friendly residents along the trail enjoy talking to you and sharing points of interest you may not know about.
If you enjoy a rural trail where you will see rabbits, squirrels, road runners, cattle, goats and even bison, this is a good one."
This trail is a great training trail. It's smooth and long with seemingly little traffic. My 8-year old son and I only encountered one other cyclist and a few hikers. We rode from the Mineral Wells state park to Weatherford and back. Getting up the hill back at the park is not enjoyable after a long ride.
"this is a very nice trail for long runs. The surface is soft, the elevation changes gradually, and the trial is wide enough to handle mixed use (bikes, horses, and walkers/runners)."
"This is a great trail for a fat tire. The scenery is clean and the trail goes ""up hill"" both directions, or so it seems. If you start on the east end near Weatherford, you can have lunch in Mineral Wells and then make the 20 mile return trip."
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